These 30 Terrifying Bridges Will Make Your Palms Sweat
Most bridges are built to be structurally sound. We cross them, we’re safe, and all is well. Other bridges, however, are not afforded such luxury. These bridges are terrifying, unsafe, and often contemptible down to their very core. What follows is a list of the most extreme, off-putting, and—ultimately—terrible bridges ever built.
1. Hanging Bridge of Ghasa, Nepal
Hanging bridges are some of the most treacherous around. They lift you up to heights you’d often rather not bare. But, if you’re trying to cross over a valley, or into the part of town, it can sometimes be necessary. This happens all the time in places with heavy mountain ranges.
Nepal is one of these places. Home to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, there are plenty of locations in this little area that offer great heights and terrible bridges. One of them is the Hanging Bridge of Ghasa. While it does have meshing that would protect you from falling through its ropes, it is still high up and windy. Too high, if you ask us.
2. Trift Bridge, Switzerland
When a bridge doesn’t have safety meshing on its side, it’s normally not something you would choose to cross. This is especially true if that bridge suffers from high winds. But, some choose to do so and it baffles our mind. The Trift Bridge is one of these bridges better left uncrossed.
Traversing over a few glaciers of the Swiss Alps, this bridge stands at a lofty 328 feet tall. If you would like to check it out, you can make your way over to the town of Gadmen. Built in 2004, the original construction didn’t have many stabilizing cables. Fortunately, in 2009, this short-sighted decision was remedied with a few that fortify.
3. Ai Petri Bridge, Ukraine
Other than the cold, Ukraine has much to offer. One of these things is a hefty dose of fear. When crossing the Ai Petri Bridge, for instance, you will realize what we mean. The bridge is loftily elevated, crossing from one mountainous peak to another. If you didn’t think this would be a scary thing, clearly you haven’t hiked.
Located in the Crimean Mountains, the bridge crosses over a canyon that is something like 4,200 feet. That’s a long fall to the bottom. What’s even more unsettling about this bridge is the fact that it experiences a great deal of wind. This isn’t something you want to realize after you’ve already made your way to the top. So please be glad we told you once you’re up there.
4. The Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado
Suspension bridges can be, dare we say, suspenseful. While yes, they make it easier to traverse from one cliff face to another, they also induce fear in most people who would like to cross them. This is especially true when they’re unreasonably high in the air. If you are craving a break from a life of boring commutes and uninspiring freeways, take adrive through the Royal Gorge.
The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado boasts a breathtaking view. Earning a rating as one of the highest suspension bridges in the contiguous United States, this 1929 bridge crosses 955 feet of sheer terror. It did, however, make crossing the Arkansas River just a little bit less treacherous. Some people consider the perilous height well worth the scenery.
5. Monkey Bridges, Vietnam
Some bridges aren’t necessarily feats of marvelous engineering, but instead feats of do-it-yourself technology. These monkey bridges in Vietnam are one such invention. Scattered all over Vietnam, the bridges enable you to get into marshland homes, across rice paddies, and all sorts of other things. You may label these bridges as dangerous transport, but locals of the river banks call it routine.
That’s not to say these bridges aren’t precarious. Minimally constructed (often from just one long stick of bamboo), the makeshift bridges make everyday commerce a little easier than firing up a motorboat. Needless to say, if you lose your balance on one of these things, the results would not likely be pretty.
6. Sidu River Bridge, China
If you haven’t noticed, one of the most terrifying aspects of most bridges is height. So, naturally, we might ask ourselves this: what is the highest bridge on Earth? And the answer to this question should clearly be a terrifying bridge. And guess what—it is.
The Sidu River Bridge in China is the highest bridge in the world. It stands at an imposing 1,600 feet above ground, crossing from one end of a valley to another. The bridge connects two parts of the country that used to be difficult to traverse because of their deep mountain ranges. If you’re scared of heights, this isn’t a bridge you would like to cross.
7. Canopy Walk, Ghana
Some bridges aren’t actually as dangerous as they first appear. The Canopy Walk in Ghana is one such bridge. While it may at first appear like it’s dangerous beyond reason, the bridge is actually reasonably constructed such that you likely won’t die if you cross it. This is quite the relief.
Among the safety features that this bridge maintains includes things like aluminum wires, safety meshing, and thick boards to walk across. The only real danger with this bridge would come from dangling over the edge. And, presumably, this isn’t something you’d like to do when hanging 40 feet in the air.
8. Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan
Many people go to Japan to experience the rich culture. They have incredible cuisine, some of the most ancient buildings, and traditions highlighting things like the samurai and geisha. But other than this, Japan is also home to some of the most terrifying bridges ever to exist. The most salient of these is the Eshima Ohashi Bridge.
The Eshima Ohashi Bridge is something akin to a precipitous cliff. It ascends and drops a staggering 144 feet with a gradient that will make you palms dance with sweat. Having been completed in 2004, however, the road is relatively safe. It has, in other words, been built with some of the most modern safety features the world of tech-engineering has to offer.
9. Root Bridges, India
Some of the bridges that qualify as the most exquisitely terrifying aren’t built by man—or at least not in the way you probably think. These root bridges in India, for instance, are structured in a way such to use the natural root system of trees. Now, if these don’t look sturdy to you, that’s because they likely aren’t.
But, if you need to cross a local river or stream and this is all there is, you better buckle up and let it happen. If you don’t, you might just have to find a long, circuitous way around. Sometimes it’s better to just deal with the vertigo induced by lofty heights and walk your way along, step by step, across the shaky bridge. Sometimes it’s better to just turn around.
10. Suspension Glass Bridge, China
One thing we’ve yet to mention on this bridge yet is the glass bridge. These, as it might seem from the surface, are perfectly constructed such to evoke fear. Not only are they too high to consider sane, but they’re also plated with glass underneath them. Because of this, you can practically taste your fear with each step.
One such terrifying suspension bridge is the Glass Bridge in China. Located in one of the most beautiful parks in the world—the Shiniuzhai National Geological Park—this bridge scares the great many who dare to cross it each year. The bridge was so popular that it had to be closed to the public temporality. It’s now back and ready to accomodate all those who want to cross a bridge with the word “glass” in the name.
11. Mount Titlis, Switzerland
Most things that one would do 9,842 feet above ground are enough to induce fear. One of the most salient of these things is crossing bridges. This bridge on Mount Titlis in Switzerland offers such fear. Dangling precariously over many peaks of the Swiss Alps, this bridge is enough to intimidate even the most reckless dare-devil.
Called Titlis Cliff Walk, this bridge earns its name as the highest suspension bridge in Europe. It offers splendid views, breezy drafts, and dizzying views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Opened in December of 2012, this bridge has scared many over the years. If you wish, it can scare you, too.
12. Storseisundet Bridge, Norway
Norway is widely known as one of the most beautiful places. It has rolling hills, precipitous mountains, and some of the most breath-taking promontories around. But among all of the beauty lays some of the terror. The Storseisundet Bridge in Norway is one of these terrifying things.
Because of the terrible things that this road inspires in the mind of those who cross it (i.e., an unrelenting fear of heights and hairpin turns), the road has become a spot for the fearless tourist. If you’d like to experience some thrills, then, this might be the road for you. It takes you through steep grades and sharp drops. Just prepare yourself for the mental turmoil that will surely follow.
13. The Bridge of Immortals, Huang Shang China
Despite its name, the Bridge of Immortals in Huang Shang China is anything but. If you’re looking for a clear dose of your mortality, in other words, all you need to do is peer from the ledge of this most terrifying bridge. While we don’t literally recommend that you do this, the sights will scary you immeasurably.
If you are looking for such a sight, however, you might want to make your way to Yellow Mountain. Here, you will find the bridge crossing from one granite bluff to another. When you cross, you will see why the bridge has made our list. The look down offers views of the most precipitous freefall you could possibly imagine.
14. Montenegro Rainforest, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has already made our list for one of its lamentable bridges. But how about another? Yes, the Montenegro Rainforest crossing of peril is another. While it’s a great bridge for viewing the natural splendor of the Costa Rican rainforest, it also offers those with a fear of heights their most tangible hatred.
This bridge, known simply as the “hanging” bridge, is one likely to scare most who would cross it. But, if you can take the heights, the beautiful crossing offers many astounding views of the surrounding forest. And herein lays the beauty. But to get here, you have to deal with an elevation that might be hard to handle.
15. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Ireland has far more than potatoes to offer the world. It has beautiful promontories that end in beautiful blue seas, sheer cliff faces, and a history that can both shock and awe. But along with some of this more natural beauty comes bridges that will crush your sanity.
One of these bridges is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. In its entirety, the bridge stretches around 66 feet in length, connecting a beautiful island on one side to the promontory on the other. It stands around 100 feet off the ground, facing jagged rocks at its beginning and end. If you plan to cross, cross safely.
16. Mekong River Crossing, China
Sometimes, to cross from one end of a river to another, you need to hold on to a thin wire while walking upon another. And sometimes, a small misstep to one side of the other will send you plunging into the vicious depths. This is the case with the Mekong River Crossing in China.
Located in several different countries, including places like China, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia, the river turns from scary to scarier. This is especially true if you have to cross it. In some places, for instance, there is nothing but a thin wire that transports you from one side to the other. And to this bridge, we give a resounding and resolute no thanks.
17. Millau Viaduct, France
France is home to things as familiar as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and countless other art museums and architecturally significant buildings. But it’s also home to one of the most terrifying bridges known to humanity. This bridge is the Millau Viaduct.
Earning its soup as another one of the tallest bridges around, the Millau Viaduct stands at an imposing 1,125 feet above ground. But beyond this, if you do find yourself crossing the bridge you’ll have to continue upon its scary heights for an unconscionable 8,000 feet. Let’s hope you chose to drive, for a nice walk is out of the question.
18. Hussaini Hanging Bridge, Pakistan
Pakistan is home to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges that exist. Among these includes peaks like K2, Nanga Parbat, and the Trango Towers. Each of these peaks is just as beautiful as they are high. Some of them, however, are also home to some of the most terrifying bridges.
The Hussaini Hanging Bridge, for instance, is one such bridge. Crossing from one end of Borit Lake to another, the bridge is constructed in one of the most intimidating ways possible. Built from ramshackle splinters of wood and thin, rusty climbing wires, the thing is better left uncrossed. Unfortunately, some have considered the bridge a test of will. And to this, we say no thanks.
19. Iya Kazurabashi Bridge, Japan
When a bridge is replete with shaky planks and vines that insinuate a jungle DIY attitude, it’s best you stay away. Unfortunately for those who need to cross the Iya-gawa river in Japan, they can’t avoid it. And this is where we get our next terrifying bridge: the Iya Kazurabashi Bridge.
The bridge is definitely better left uncrossed. Each plank that you need to walk on is separated by something like a foot a space. If this doesn’t make you wince in fear, you probably aren’t picturing it right. And for that, I would say stare at this photo a little bit longer. It is definitely one of the most awful bridges to make this list.
20. Taman Negara Canopy Walkway, Malaysia
The Taman Negara Canopy Walkway in Malaysia is one of those bridges you cross just to say you did so. It’s also one of those that will induce much fear as you do so. The bridge is thin, long, and unrelentingly scary. If you do intend on crossing, you might want to hold on tight. The journey will be a long one.
Stretching an abominable 1,700 feet, this bridge is one for the ages. If you weren’t scared of heights, now is the time to remedy that. What lies below this most terrifyingly thin bridge is miles of dense, lush forest. So maybe if you fall you will at least hit some trees on your way down—if you’re lucky, that is.
21. Keshwa Chaca Bridge, Peru
Again, some of the bridges on this list wouldn’t be crossable by even the most brazen adventurer. The Keshwa Chaca Bridge in Peru is one such bridge. Made from thick strands of woven grass, the bridge has endured a half-millennium of weathering and other processes of natural deterioration—yet still it stands.
To build this bridge, many had to braid together small strands of grass together to form the base. And then from there they had to weave this into a massively long and durable bridge. Somehow they managed to do it. Still, we would be a bit too afraid to cross this one. Grass isn’t as strong as steel, ya know?
22. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Canada
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the more safe to have made this list. Still, however, it can be considered terrifying. Stretching a lengthy 460 feet, the Canadian bridge is home to something around 800,000 visitors a year. Beneath the bridge lays what you might expect: lush forests and rapid waters.
The bridge was initially built in 1889 by a Scottish engineer, George Grab Mackay. Fortunately, the bridge was reconstructed in the 1950s, fortifying its safety measures, making it one of the more crossable bridges around. And for this, we can thank the Canadians. They sure know how to build.
23. Puente de Ojuela, Mexico
Some parts of Mexico are places you would love to visit. In the Yucatan, for instance, you have beautiful cenotes that have become a hotspot for tourists to explore. You also have the Baja California Peninsula, which covers some of the warmest waters with the warmest weather. But it also holds some unsavory things.
The Puente de Qjuela bridge in Mexico, for instance, offers more visions of fear than it does paradise. The bridge, formerly used by a local mining town, has been closed because of its perilousness. Finished in 1898, the bridge enabled miners to cross one end of a gorge to another. The location has since been reopened as a tourist attraction. Again, no thanks.
24. Quepos Bridge, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the destination of many tourists worldwide. Whether you’re seeking a destination for your honeymoon, a place to zipline through the jungle, or just to enjoy some major beach vibes, it has you covered. One thing that it does not have you covered on, however, is the construction of the Quepos Bridge.
The Quepos Bridge, otherwise known as the Oh-My-God bridge, is one of the most abominable creations ever made. Constructed by the Bananera Company in the 1930s, the bridge was built to move a train from the port of Quepos more inland. Fortunately, the bridge has collapsed and is no longer functional. Yes, it’s terrible.
25. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida
Other than the Florida Keys, the secret bunker locations, and the white, sandy beaches, Florida is also home to some of the most treacherous bridges. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, despite its name, is one such bridge. Spanning from one end of Tampa Bay to the other, this bridge stretches an astonishing 21,877 feet.
While the modern version of the bridge is actually safe, its initial 1980 construction was not. This early iteration was too close to the actual water of Tampa Bay. And because of this, a ship had crashed into it only seven years after it was opened. The crash was devastating and killed 35 people. Now, however, the road is safe. Thank, goodness.
26. U Bein Bridge, Myanmar
Some bridges don’t exactly strike would-be crossers as finished. The U Bein Bridge in Myanmar is one such bridge. Crossing from one end of the Taungthaman Lake to another, this bridge is dirty, disheveled, and unequipped with safety mesh or netting. Because of this, it is something quite scary.
The bridge is made of teakwood, a type of hardwood derived from the tropical teakwood tree. It is the longest bridge of the teakwood caliber, stretching an astounding 3/4 miles. Having been initially constructed in 1850, this bridge looks like it has undergone very few innovations since its original conception. And to this we say ugh.
27. Kawarau Bridge, New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most interesting set of islands on planet Earth. Between the north and south island, you are afforded everything from dry desert to lush jungle. New Zealand, in other words, has everything you could want in regards to adventure. Another one of these things is dangerous bridges.
Here, we have the Kawarau Bridge, the first specialized bridge for bungee roping. And herein lays the danger: bungee jumping is one of the most dangerous extreme sports you can do. While the thing pales in comparison to activites like squirrel suiting and mixed martial arts, it is something can paralyze and sometimes kill. While we bet you’re safe, the possibility is there.
28. Deosai Bridge, Pakistan
As we’ve already seen, Pakistan is home to some of the most terrifying bridges around (and some of the most beautiful and impressive mountains). One of these bridges is Deosai Bridge. This bridge is dangerous because it’s made from rickety planks and wire.
Located in Deosai National Park, the bridge holds some features that make it a little more unique than you might first believe. First off, the thing is located over 13,000 feet above sea level. While this bridge is not necessarily that high off the water, in aggregate the plot of land itself is very high. We’d recommend you not cross this bridge while there’s a car passing, however.
29. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana
Here, we have a bridge that appears more daunting than dangerous. And the reasons for this are simple. The bridge, called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, stretches a total of around 24 miles. This Louisianan bridge crosses from Metairie to Mandeville.
Once in the middle of your route, however, you will loose sight of land. Some people, when they lose sight of land, also lose sight of their mind. And because of this, they might go insane and drive off the bridge. Okay, this is unlikely. Regardless, the long stretch of land might induce a little bit of fear in the driver. Just be prepared.
30. Captain William Moore Bridge, Alaska
This bridge is a problem mostly because of how it’s been engineered. While it doesn’t pose an immediate problem to those who might otherwise drive over it, it does pose a potential problem. This problem is an earthquake. While many modern bridges have been designed such to survive massive temblors, this bridge’s design makes it a little suspect.
The bridge here cross from one end of a fault to anther. And because of this, they only attached one of the ends of the bridge into the surrounding rock. When the fault shakes from built up pressure, then, the bridge won’t be torn from the mountain and broken. If you feel the ground rumbling, we recommend you wait to cross this bridge.
NEXT: Live on the Edge in These Nerve-Racking, Dangerous Houses
1. Our house, in the middle of the river ♪
While this house would look normal anywhere else, it seems rather out of place sitting in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. A wealthy family built it in the 1950s to get away from other people and the busy world beyond the river. They called it “Just Enough Room Island,” seemingly unafraid of potential flooding.
Just Enough Room Island then became the smallest inhabited island in the world. Unfortunately, the family’s odd housing choice encouraged tourists to come and take a look, which ruined their secluded getaway. Perhaps it’s for the best since the St. Lawrence River does sometimes flood and it makes getting home even harder than an hour in traffic.
2. The Hanging Monastery on Mount Heng
Just as the Just Enough Room family were seeking seclusion, the monks who built this hanging monastery 1,400 years ago wanted a silent place to meditate. And just like the tiny island house, tourists have overrun this temple too. However, unlike the island house, this place is safe from floods and most precipitation because of its height and the mountain behind it.
Amazingly, the nerve-racking monastery, Xuankong Si, is still standing after so long. It’s held up by wooden beams fitted into holes in the stone and the rock face behind it. Even if it’s really quiet, how anyone could comfortably meditate while floating above a sheer drop remains a mystery.
3. When living near “Fire Mountain,” some houses get burned
Despite being a very volatile volcano, people continue to live at the base of Mount Merapi, which means “Fire Mountain.” While scientists try to predict whether or not the volcano will erupt, they aren’t always accurate. Sometimes deadly clouds of ash, gases, and rock pieces tumble down the mountain at speeds up to 60 miles an hour and engulf houses.
75,000 people live around the mountain because once the volcanic ash is done wreaking havoc, it becomes very nice fertile soil. They aren’t living right on the side of the mountain, which is in Indonesia, but in the surrounding area. However, the 12 miles around the mountain are all in the danger zone.
4. Paradise islands are in risky situations
When you hear about the Maldives Islands, chances are your mind goes to honeymooners, white beaches, and gorgeous waters. And while that is the case right now, climate change is threatening the little paradise. Rising sea levels (due to melting ice) could completely engulf some of the Maldives Islands and several other paradise vacation spots.
In 2008, the president of the Maldives wanted to move the entire population elsewhere because of the impending doom. Now, they’re building tall, artificial islands to be flood-resistant. Ideally, people will move to these islands once their current homes become endangered from rising water levels.
5. On the shores of Lake Kivu, houses are threatened by an explosive lake
The two million people living on the shores of Lake Kivu are in just as much danger as those living near an active volcano: the lake might explode at any moment and send clouds of deadly carbon dioxide gas pouring into the air. Oh, and there are “regular” volcanoes nearby, too.
The lake, situated on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the equivalent to a shaken can of soda, but you’ll never know when it’ll pop open. The explosion will have few natural warning signs, but scientists, engineers, and politicians are working together to de-gas the lake by removing the volatile gas from its depths.
6. The towering and precarious Meteora Monasteries
What is it that makes monks love to live up high in precarious places? Meteora means “suspended in air” which characterizes these beautiful Greek monasteries. The height protected the settling monks during the 14th century when they built their monasteries on top of huge pillars to avoid being raided.
Back then, the only way up was via hanging basket, rope ladder, or, in one legend, atop the back of an eagle. Now, there are convenient stairs. It’s amazing what heights people go to just to get away from other people. (Oh, also, the Eyrie in “Game of Thrones” was inspired by these floating monasteries).
7. Once the tallest wooden building in the world, this monstrosity is a fire hazard
In Archangel, Russia, the wealthy arms dealer Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin built a three-story wooden house. But, according to him, it looked like an odd mushroom, so he added more stories. And more stories. And more, until it reached 13 floors high.
The creeping monstrosity called the Sutyagin House was the tallest wooden building in the world, complete with a five-story bathhouse. But many years later, the government decided it was too much of a fire hazard and demolished the almost-certainly-haunted building. Now we’ll never have the real-life horror story of teenagers daring each other to go in and then mysteriously disappearing.
8. The fairy-tale castle on the edge of a very tall cliff
Even back in the 1800s, people were romanticizing castles. After Count Wilhelm of Württemberg read a novel about the chivalrous Middle Ages and became smitten with the fictional castle, he had this precarious hunting lodge built on the remains of a much older castle. Now, the romance continues and it’s a popular wedding spot.
Since this bridge is far from the most dangerous bridge in the world, it’s safer walking into the castle than once you’re inside. Be careful as you walk near the windows because this first-floor drop is nowhere near as safe as the one from your living room window. Make sure to watch your step.
9. The precariously perched t(r)ea house
The architect of this puzzling structure must have had a sense of humor because he named it Takasugi-an, which translates to “a teahouse built too high.” But despite appearances, no, Dr. Seuss was not the architect. To make this precarious teahouse, the architect cut down trees and secured them in the ground. Their tops stick into the house, holding it in place.
If you wanted to have a cup of tea in this teahouse, you’d have to climb up not one, but two ladders. In between, you must take your shoes off, despite being on a small wooden platform suspended above the ground. Once inside, you can comfortably sit in the teahouse, but it will gently sway back in forth to remind you just how crazy the building really is.
10. The tiny house on the rock
Despite the waters rising and dropping each year, this little cabin has remained perched on this rock in the Drina River of Serbia for over 40 years. The owner built it with his friends in 1969, after realizing the rock made a great sunbathing spot. They took tiny living to the extreme.
After completing the fairly simple construction, he spent vacations in the improbable cabin. Luckily, extreme winds and flooding have not yet taken this tiny home off its rock. It’s pretty surprising the house is still standing, considering it looks like sitting on one side or the other will tip it into the water.
11. The Spanish town crammed on a crag
Looking more like it belongs in a Disney movie than real life, this town is squished onto a narrow volcanic rock formation, sitting between twin rivers. A slim street snakes its way between the buildings whose backyards are sheer cliff faces. Don’t let your dog out here.
The town, situated in Catalonia, Spain, is called Castellfollit de la roca and is about 1,000 years old. It’s a 160-foot drop off the side of the cliff, which was made of lava hundreds of thousands of years ago. The rivers on either side eroded away the land, making the slim but tall crag.
12. The Chemosphere: a space-age indulgence
While an architect put a lot of work into ensuring this house is safe, anyone walking into it must be riddled with at least a little anxiety upon stepping inside. It’s suspended in thin air high above Los Angeles in (where else) the Hollywood Hills. But it’s not an actor that this was built for.
Its space-age facade reveals the original owner: an aerospace engineer. Perhaps you thought the Jetsons once lived here since the Chemosphere seems to represent everything that people in the 60s imagined life in the 21st century would be like. Instead of octagonal shapes, our technologically advanced houses have mildly concerning smart speakers and thermostats.
13. The Katskhi Pillar in Georgia
For some 1,500 years, monks have been climbing pillars to live out their days in solitude. This lonely pillar is the modern continuation of the tradition: Maxime Qavtaradze lives in the lofty house, climbing a 131-foot ladder every time he comes and goes.
About once or twice a week, Qavtaradze comes down from his seclusion to counsel those seeking help at the monastery below. He’s called a stylite because this practice was once so common that the monks-who-lived-on-pillars had their own term. 600 years ago, another stylite lived on this same pillar. His bones were still there when Qavtaradze moved in.
14. The Hanging Houses of Cuenca, Spain
These beautiful but nerve-racking homes bring new meaning to the term “skyscraper,” which their Spanish name (rascacielo) translates to. It’s almost impossible to tell where the rock ends and the house begins because the houses are built so intimately into the cliff.
Cuenca, the Spanish town these houses reside in, ran out of space as their population grew. So they just built as far out and high as they could. At one point, the town was full of these hanging houses, but now few remain. The one pictured now contains an art museum and restaurant. Be careful on that balcony.
15. The little house on the mountain
Who would live in this tiny hut two and a half miles up the side of a mountain? Well, it’s a refuge for people in case of emergency. Mountain climbers can stay here during dangerous situations or when they need a rest in their perilous ascension.
While your stomach may drop just looking at this hut, it’s no big deal to a mountain climber on the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Despite its small appearance, about 10 people could stay in the hut if necessary. It’s got an emergency phone for climbers to use during avalanches, thunderstorms, or in case of injury.
16. The leaning high rises of Santos, Brazil
While these high rise apartments may seem like a perfect place to live, with ocean views and in walking distance to the beach, something’s a little off about them. About 90 of these skyscrapers lean to one side or another. The problem? Their foundations are fairly shallow in the ground, situated in soft clay.
Building codes nowadays would require them to be built deeper, into the bedrock, but the laws were lax when these towers were built. Despite this tilt, people continue living in these leaning buildings. One was fixed to stand straight, but it would be immensely costly to fix all the other ones, too.
17. The Korowai treehouses
In Indonesia, many of the Korowai people still live in treehouses. They house several people and are built perched on trees, like giant bird nests. The BBC’s Human Planet series filmed the Korowai people, but the depiction of them building and moving into the extremely high treehouse was staged for the documentary.
It seems the Korowai don’t normally live as high as 100 feet off the ground but can live around 30 feet or so high. However, the treehouses are probably not the most interesting part of the Korowai people, considering they’re cannibals too. Some have given up cannibalism, but the remote people still practice it.
18. The WoZoCo apartments defy gravity in Amsterdam
Faced with a conflict between city regulations and the client’s demands, the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV got creative and followed through on a half-joking idea. They needed all the buildings around it to remain well lit, but to keep as much green space as possible, so the architects stuck these weird protrusions on the back of the building.
Is the picture making you itch to just close these darn drawers? This building looks like it’s come straight out of the Container Store. The “drawers” are cantilevered onto the building, meaning they’re fixed only at one end where their beams jut into the main building. Still, standing below these appendages must be unnerving.
19. The Phoenix House rises from the ashes of the Kilauea Volcano
If you’re reading this article and thinking about how much you want to live in one of these risky houses, look no further than the Phoenix House. It’s located just outside of the volcano Kilauea’s danger zone (where dangerously hot lava reaches during an eruption). This lovely volcano is often called the most active volcano in the world.
You can vacation in the Phoenix House by renting it on Airbnb. It’s a spectacular tiny house that’s solar-powered and solitary. The hosts can pick you up from the airport, but you’d better make sure your rental car is okay for offroading.
20. The most isolated house in the world
While this house may not be on the edge of a cliff like many of these others, it is extremely isolated. It sits on the island Elliðaey, which is off the coast of Iceland. So, if you were to injure yourself, you wouldn’t have any emergency services to fix your broken leg or grievous head wound.
People believe that the five families living on this island 300 years ago were puffin hunters (puffins are birds that are reminiscent of penguins). But by the 1930s, everyone had abandoned the island. Eventually, people built this lodge on the island for temporary lodging while hunting puffins.
21. The world’s most dangerous hike
Mount Hua in China has five different peaks, each with temples, teahouses, and shrines of their own. The picture below is of Chess Pavilion, a small pagoda with a stomach-dropping “hike” to get it (let’s be honest, this hike is more mountain climbing than walk in the woods).
While it looks as though you would hike up to this pavilion, you first have to climb down an incredibly steep rock face. Metal chains and shallow footholds are hammered into the rock to give you a fighting chance as you descend to the most dangerous game of chess. But the views are nice.
22. The most dangerous cup of tea
On another peak on Mount Hua is the world’s most dangerous cup of tea. High up in the air is a temple that does a relaxing tea ceremony, perhaps to distract you from the fact that you’re sitting precariously on the top of a mountain. While you could get to the mountain’s peak by cable car, the original way of summiting is far more dangerous: walking the plank.
Or rather, planks. There are countless wooden planks attached to the side of the mountain, each one narrow and suspended over a deadly drop. You have to wear a dubious harness just to cross them. There are various steep staircases along the way, too, and at least one has dizzying drops on either side.
23. The hottest inhabited place on Earth
Deep in the Ethiopian desert, this settlement is reached only via camel ride. It’s one of the hottest places on Earth, and probably the hottest inhabited place in the world. Except for January and February, the daily temperature is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, it’s around 115. Oh and on top of the heat, they also have a volcano and get earthquakes.
Why are people living here? They mine the land for salt. People here live in an area called the Danakil Depression, which is actually below sea level. It’s beautiful and remote. Despite that, the location is nicknamed “The Gateway to Hell” because of how inhospitable it is.
24. The Falling Water house
While Frank Lloyd Wright may have been a visionary in design, he didn’t always take the necessary engineering precautions. The Fallingwater house is spectacular: built on top of a waterfall with materials and colors that blend right in with the forests of Pennsylvania. However, it had one little problem: it was about to fall into the creek.
Wright had argued with his engineers and gotten his way, but the floors were just not strong enough to hold the whole building up. The beams started cracking and the owners, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, had to raise over $11 million to fix the error. In the meantime, visitors were able to peer at the cracking beams through glass portholes.
25. Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Clearly, monks love to live dangerously in remote places that only a mountain goat or a bird could reasonably reach. They must be achieving new heights of enlightenment. This monastery is called Tiger’s Nest, or Paro Taktsang, and legends say that the “Second Buddha” meditated here.
Supposedly, he skipped the hike and got there via flying tiger, which must have given the monastery its odd name. To get there, you’ll have to do a two hour hike that’s one part dangerous and one part terrifying. If you want to check it out, Tiger’s Nest is in Bhutan, which is south of China, nestled alongside India.